Tuesday, March 20 , 2018, 12:46 pm | Mostly Cloudy 63º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with The Lab and American Riviera Bank
The LabAmerican Riviera Bank

Santa Barbara Royals to Unveil 2nd Championship Banner on Saturday

High school ice hockey team opens third season against Burbank; youth teams increase at Ice in Paradise

The Santa Barbara Royals won the first two championships of the Los Angeles Kings High School Hockey League. Click to view larger
The Santa Barbara Royals won the first two championships of the Los Angeles Kings High School Hockey League. (Courtesy photo)

Goleta has become a hot spot for high school ice hockey in Southern California.

The Santa Barbara Royals, a team made up of players from San Marcos, Santa Barbara, Dos Pueblos and Bishop Diego high schools, will celebrate the unveiling of their second straight championship banner for winning the Los Angeles Kings High School Hockey League on Saturday at Goleta’s Ice in Paradise before their 2017-18 season opener against the Burbank Cougars.

The banner ceremony will be held before the opening face-off at 4:45 p.m.

The Royals have seven players back from last year’s team, which also beat the champion of the Anaheim Ducks High School League to take the Southern California title.

Four of the returnees played on the first L.A. Kings League championship team in 2016. They are captain Jack Johnson, assistant captains Nick Poire and Ayden Klock and Harrison Del Bonis. They, along with Cameron Baron, Shea Rousseau and Tyler Martindale from last year, “will set the example and continue to show what it takes to win in this league,” said Royals coach Steve Heinze, a former NHL player with the Boston Bruins and the L.A. Kings. “Our new players seem up to the challenge of following their lead.”

The new players come from the Royals JV team, which won the L.A. Kings League JV title last year. (They have a banner ceremony on Oct. 14)

“This is a large group of players coming to the Varsity Royals to try and continue the history of a very successful program,” Heinze said. “I am excited to see the level of commitment and hope they all come together as a group to work toward success.”

Heinze said the quality of play and the overall depth has improved greatly in the program's short time.

“Our first season, we just barely had enough players to fill our varsity roster. This season, we have a full varsity and JV roster and our selection process was very difficult.”

The improved quality can be attributed to the increase in player participation.

When the rink first opened in October of 2015, an in-house hockey league for youth was started, said Johann Frisell, the Royals’ JV coach, a club coach and an adult league player — he grew up playing the game in his native Sweden. “Kids that were playing roller hockey at Earl Warren (Showgrounds) came and played. We did everything here for the first six months.”

As the players got better, a club program was formed: the Santa Barbara Ice Hawks. The club started with three teams: Squirt Division (10-under), Pee Wee (12U) and Bantam (14U). Two teams made the playoffs in the first year and the Bantams (coached by Frisell) won a tournament.

“For the first year we did really well,” he said. 

There are now six teams in the club, with a Mites Division (8U), a second Pee Wee team, and a Midget (16U) team being added this year.

Frisell said the majority of the kids are from the Santa Barbara area, with others coming in from the Santa Ynez Valley and Ventura. Most of the players have roller hockey backgrounds, while many of the younger ones are just starting out.

He hopes more kids come out to try the sport.

“We’re still trying to get the word out that there’s ice hockey in town,” he said.

Newcomers to the game can borrow used gear at the rink, practice one day a week and play in a one-day in-house league for $400. The league is for youngsters between ages 4-15.

Frisell said the youth team coaches all grew up playing the sport.

“It’s a really neat, small group that wants to give hockey to the kids,” he said.

For more information on youth ice hockey, contact Larry Bruyere at [email protected]

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >